The Synthetics Revolution

Adverstising image of men in clothes made of crimplene

Wednesday 4 October 2017, 4.00PM to 5.30pm

Speaker(s): Professor Regina Blaszczyk, University of Leeds


This presentation examines the synthetics revolution in fashion and fibers within the context of the new field of the history of the senses. The story of the synthetics revolution—the introduction of man-made and test-tube fibers into the textile-fashion supply chain—has most often been told as the story of heroic inventors or the story of judicious management investment in R&D. In reality, the great fiber makers of the mid to late twentieth century were also innovative marketers who invested heavily in product development, advertising, motivational research, and promotion. Those efforts, in turn, attempted to tap into and capitalize on the hopes, desires, and concerns of consumers on matters of comfort and convenience. This Power Point presentation will present some of my preliminary ideas for a new book project that examines the synthetics revolution as a marketing phenomena that tapped into sensory experience.

Picture of Regina Blaszczyk


Regina Lee Blaszczyk is Professor of Business History, and Leadership Chair in the History of Business and Society at the University of Leeds.  She is the author or editor of twelve books that deal with design and innovation in the creative industries, and the cultural history of the chemical industry.  The Synthetics Revolution is a book project that combines these interests.


Location: LMB/102b